Obama & The Real Story

Obama & The Real Story

The real story for Obama is grim right now: unemployment is at new-century record highs, his first six months in office are a failure, his budget is delayed, transparency is delayed, health care reform is on the rocks, and dissension within his caucus is at an all time high as they wind down toward recess.

If the real story were front page and center now everyone would be focused on the house and the splintering over health care going on there. The press would be dissecting the bill and the points of contention for the public with a bit more vigor than the shorthand of triggers and public options. It’s at the point  where there could be a rebellion and coming leadership change in the Democrat caucus if things continue this way. Even though there are outward signs of unity, this is surface only, and with elections looming in 15 months more is on the line than it would seem at the moment.

True to form when faced with real opposition and a bad news cycle,  President Obama has a habit of changing the subject. That’s why the Gates gaffe was made and in my opinion it was intentional. It’s also probably not a coincidence that nirtherism is front and center in the news again, even though left, right, and center are all calling birth certificate conspiracists marginal and crazy.

These things take the focus off of what’s important and change the subject to topical and idiotic irrelevancies. These are very skillful distractions, everyone has an opinion on racism – with the public in overwhelming agreement that it’s bad — and they all want to talk about it. Much more fun than talking about the boring points of a trillion dollar health bill, n’est ce pas?

It’s also always more fun to talk about marginal nutballs on the right than the unemployment picture too.

Obama is very skilled at these smoke and mirror tricks and by making himself the lightning rod he’s managed to take the focus from the real story for a moment: but his first six months are still not sitting well with the public, and his health care reform is a boat on the rocks of a distant shore.

Natal: Coming to an Office Near You?

Natal: Coming to an Office Near You?

In an earlier post I speculated upon the future uses of Microsoft’s new full body motion detecting system, Natal, which is coming for the X-Box. I took the sensor from the X-Box, and speculated on what could happen if this moved to offices and factories in combination with other budding technology, such as Pixelwalls or Pixelspaces.

Here’s a snip:

So why the excitement? Part of it’s because this does draw in people who are challenged by the GUI, the Gamepad, the joystick, or the mouse. It changes the playing field, and it changes the way we will interact with computers. What happens when this type of IO crosses verges? Steven talks about one he’s familiar with in the video, and you see an interactive fashion / shopping application as well. Think bigger than that. Combine it with another technology. This is where the wild assed speculation starts. Think of your office or factory computers – think not of monitor screens, but of pixelwalls with ability to run multiple apps in multiple virtual screens painting your cuby walls, and then think of public space pixelwalls.

There will be new art using this, and it will be interactive. There will be new interactive industrial uses, and there will be home uses. There will be breakthroughs in how we live our daily lives. Sometime over the next twenty years you won’t have to go to the computer to use it, you will be able to use applications, input to them, and view media by popping it up on the nearest pixelwall. With hand motions and speech you will likely be able to do everything you do today with a keyboard and mouse, and you will be able to take multiple views with you to any room in the house that has a pixelwall and sensors. If there are public pixel walls and network in public locations, you will be able to take all your media with you, and combine your virtual world with other people’s virtual worlds in the public square.

Now here’s the update on what could be the greatest I/O device since the Mouse:

In an interview with CNET News this week, Gates talked about a world in which depth-sensing cameras such as the one Microsoft is adding to the Xbox allow people to control their PCs, game devices, and televisions. (See a video from the E3 conference below.)

Speaking about all of the technology Microsoft has cooking in its labs, Gates said: “I’d say a cool example of that, that you’ll see… in a little over a year, is this (depth) camera thing.” Gates said it was not just for games, “but for media consumption as a whole, and even if they connect it up to Windows PCs for interacting in terms of meetings, and collaboration, and communication.”

Just a reminder: you can’t predict the future – so pixelwalls or pixelspace might be arrived at by different means, and full body motion sensing devices might combine in a different way than I’ve predicted.
I use “Pixelwall” as a self-explanatory word, but think in terms of wallboards that interconnect that are coated with plasma, LED, OLED, or LCD or some other type of display media, perhaps it will be wallpaper instead and come on rolls. The point is that at some time in the near future we won’t have monitors, we will have walls that can display multiple views and applications in multiple formats.
Life size views of scenic venues could be piped into your home, the view of the construction site could be piped into the Foreman’s office, the uses are many. With speech command and full body motion sensors as the new “human input devices” it takes humans out of chairs, and puts them in a truly compute anywhere environment.

Here’s a video demonstrating some of the gaming applications for this controller, now put it in a full surround computing environment at work… the possibilities become near endless.

UPDATE: The Futurist predicted some of this.

Bing Live

denali_en-us794296373Bing Live

Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing is now live. I’ve tried it a few times with mixed results, it is pretty and does have new features however.

The good news is that Microsoft and Bill Gates have been busy buying into regional news outlets and small town papers the past few years, which means when you are looking for the local immediate source for a hot news item they may have it sooner.

In the recent slaying in Arkansas, AP had one story out the first day, but initially it was very thin on information; searching Bing brought me immediately to the local station where they had much more story and some video, while google and yahoo did not have the link. This is important to us newshounds.

When searching for the Tiller shooting, there were many more links in the Google “wall of mud” search, but it was a chore going through them for the pertinent and not just repetition of what was already out. Bing provided a link to pitch.com, which had a picture of the car and arrest of suspect. So pluses for that.

Now the bad news: you do get fewer returns with Bing, but they are quality. You also have to hit “more” and drop down if you just want to sort for news, a step you don’t have with Google since “news’ sort is in their header.

The video below from John4Lakers covers most of the new features

I’ll be making more comparisons in the future as I continue to try out Bing vs Google.

A Travel Agent Challenge for Barack Obama

Words are powerful, and they do have meaning and purpose when they are spoken at the right moment of history and at the right place:

There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass’sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin. — President John F. Kennedy, 1963

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! — President Ronald Reagan, at the Brandenburg Gates 1987

Even powerful speeches and words lose all meaning and effect when they are not backed with clear resolve and firm action. Kennedy’s words were backed up by a large increase in our strategic nuclear forces; Reagan’s words were backed by nuclear missiles stationed in Europe and a missile defense initiative. Because Reagan’s and Kennedy’s words had power, purpose and meaning, and because they backed those words with firm resolve and clear policy the history of our world was changed and freedom expanded.

So here lies the challenge Senator Barack Obama: if you go to the Brandenburg gates and speak it would be without purpose or meaning because those gates are now open and the people past the gates are already free.

 Instead why not become a true leader — one who promotes the cause of freedom in this world?

With that in mind I’ve outlined a potential itinerary below: Continue reading “A Travel Agent Challenge for Barack Obama”